Encouraging serious journalism in Southern California

About/Mission

The Los Angeles Press Club exists to support, promote, and defend quality journalism in Southern California. Our task is to encourage journalists by involving the public in recognizing such journalism, together in belief that a free press is crucial to a free society. Finally, the Los Angeles Press Club provides a place for journalists to gather, network, and learn from one another, especially through the sponsorship of events. The LA Press Club is the only organization in Southern California that speaks for all journalists–newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet.

History

The almost 500-member Los Angeles Press Club has outlived most of the city’s newspapers, having been launched shortly after 1900 when Wilshire Boulevard was still a dirt trail to the ocean and the most gracious mansions in the city were on knolls immediately surrounding downtown.

Leading up to World War I, the club was located above Dick Ferris’ office on 327 South Hill Street downtown, and served as a gathering spot for journalists in the rowdy days when a half-dozen daily newspapers, loudly promoting their sometimes extreme political views, served the small but fast-growing city.

With the Great Depression of the 1930s, followed by World War II, the club ceased operations. But the need for journalists to get together did not fade. After World War II, on September 24, 1946, newsmen from the surviving four daily newspapers founded the Greater Los Angeles Press Club. Since Los Angeles Press Club was taken by a nightclub we became the Greater…The nightclub is no longer around and we have reposessed our real name.

In those early years, the club’s board chose a Miss Press Club annually, and selected as its first recipient Marilyn Monroe. In the late 1940s, President Harry Truman spoke at a club luncheon and was so well received by club members they were said to have influenced Truman’s decision to seek another term.

From 1960 until the late 1980s, the booming club owned a large building on Vermont Avenue where it operated a cafe, cocktail lounge and major press conference facility. But as the nature of journalism and journalists changed, reporters lost interest in gathering there, and the facility grew empty. Red ink began to mount, so the club sold the building and moved to leased offices.

In the late 1990s, club president and then Adelphia Cable executive Bill Rosendahl realized that the club, which was suffering shrinking membership as were all press clubs, would benefit by drawing in younger, working journalists. Rosendahl recruited dozens of them and persuaded several to run for the elected Board of Directors.

Among the new members was former Hollywood Reporter editor Alex Ben Block, who served as Executive Director for three years, working closely with longtime members like Jim Foy (NBC ret.) and newer recruits to reinvigorate the club. Block spearheaded the effort to return the club to non-profit status and re-invent it as a service organization for journalists and the entire community. Their efforts have been a great success.

Membership has rebounded dramatically. The club has sponsored dozens of seminars, Town Hall gatherings and social events open to the public and featuring top figures in politics, culture and the film industry. Notable were a Town Hall with former Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks following controversy over the 2000 Democratic Convention, the ongoing “Opening the Door” series on how to access sources in Hollywood, government, and cocktail events featuring author-speakers such as Elmore Leonard.

The club has launched outreach efforts to international, minority, freelance and gay journalists, and its International Journalists Caucus is rapidly expanding. One of the club’s most serious missions is to persuade local governments to obey existing California laws by opening up public meetings and public documents to journalists and the public. The club is directing this effort via its Sunshine Coalition, which has already achieved moderate success in educating the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to stop violating the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law.

Free to its members, the club distributes by e-mail the 8 Ball Newsletter. The club website, www.lapressclub.org contains useful journalistic tools, contacts, information on upcoming events, our annual Southern California Journalism Awards and applications for membership.

In August of 2003, we received the word that the IRS has granted our request for non-profit status. This reflects our recent efforts in providing a number of public service events, such as a full day sourcing seminar at USC and another one on the civil justice seminar, monthly (every second Thursday) debates and social events.

The board hopes to design programs to educate and improve the lives of journalists, as well as future journalists and the greater community that is affected by journalism every day.

As from 2004, the Los Angeles Press Club is also offering a press ID card to the working members of the media.

In 2005 we moved to an office above Steve Allen Theater, where we also host most of our events.

Board of Directors


President
:
Robert Kovacik, Anchor and Reporter at NBC4 Southern California. Robert Kovacik is an anchor and  general assignment reporter. Kovacik joined the station in July, 2004. Kovacik is an award-winning journalist, known for in-depth and comprehensive reporting. For the past eight years he was the lead morning reporter on “Today in LA.”

 Vice President:
Patt Morrison, is a Columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and is heard regularly on KPCC. She is a past president of the LA Press Club and winner of the Quinn award for lifetime achievement. She’s heard frequently on NPR. Founder of KCET’s Life & Times, she won six Emmys for the program she hosted for eight years.

Treasurer:
Anthony Palazzo, 
is the Bureau Chief for Bloomberg News in Los Angeles.

Secretary:
Christina Villacorte
is an award-winning reporter with nearly 15 years of experience in covering the news for television, radio and print media in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Manila.

Gloria Zuurveen is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Pace News

 Executive Director:
Diana Ljungaeus
is a Writer/Producer who is also a freelance correspondent for Swedish media. She runs the day to day business of the press club, produces most club events and is the producer of the SoCal Journalism Awards as well as The National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards. She has been involved with the club since 1999.BOARD MEMBERS

Barbara Gasser is an Austrian Journalist based in Los Angeles and a Member of The Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Fernando Mexia is the West Coast Correspondent for Spanish EFE News Service

Tony Pierce is the Community Manager at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences An innovative and award-winning blogger since 2001, Pierce became editor of LAist in 2006. After 16 months, LAist’s traffic had increased 15 times over. Soon Pierce was overseeing the blogs at the L.A. Times where he helped traffic soar from 3 million to 72 million pageviews a month. Along the way he helped launch dozens of blogs from “LA Now” to “Hero Complex” to “Framework.”

Carolina Sarassa is the National News Anchor for  MundoFox News.

Ben Sullivan is the Editor of ScienceBlog.

ADVISORY BOARD:

Eli Broad
Rick J. Caruso
Madeline Di Nono
David W. Fleming
Sherry Lansing
George E. Moss
Constance L. Rice
Hon. Richard J. Riordan
Ramona Ripston
Hon. Bill Rosendahl
Angelica Salas
Carol E. Schatz
Gary L. Toebben
Matt Toledo
Stuart Waldman

Bylaws

I. Purposes
II. Office
III. Board of Directors
IV. Indemnification of Officers & Directors
V. Membership
VI. Dues & Assessments
VII. Voting
VIII. Meetings
IX. Officers
X. Bylaw Amendments
XI. Nondiscrimination


I. PURPOSES:

The Los Angeles Press Club is a nonprofit public benefit corporation within the definitiion of the California Nonprofit Corporation Law. The property of the corporation is irrevocably dedicated to charitable and education purposes which meet the requirements of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and Sections 23701 and 214 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code. The purposes of the corporation are stated in its Articles of Incorporation.

II. OFFICE:

The principal office for the transaction of business of this club shall be located in the County of Los Angeles, State of California. The Board of Directors shall have the authority to change the principal office from one location to another within the county.

III. BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

1. The powers of the corporation shall be exercised, its property controlled, and its affairs conducted by a Board of Directors consisting of fourteen (14) Active members.

a) The terms of the fourteen (14) Active members shall be divided so that each of the fourteen members shall serve two years. Seven of these shall be elected each year for a two (2) year term, and there shall be a holding over of seven (7) members from the previous board after each election.

b) The annual election shall be at a time set by the board, on or about the second Thursday of each October. Only Active members may vote.

c) No director may serve more than three consecutive two-year terms. There is no prohibition against a person’s re-election to the Board after a lapse of one year.

2. One-half of the directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. (No proxy shall be used in the quorum count.)

3. No voting by proxy for officers shall be allowed. However, proxy voting at all scheduled or emergency meetings is permissible, provided that written notice of intent to be absent and designation of the proxy shall have been filed with the President or Secretary prior to the meeting. It must state the limitations of the proxy. Written proxies may not extend from one meeting to the next.

4. Vacancies on the board of directors may be filled by a majority vote of the remaining directors. Any vacancy or vacancies on the board of directors shall be deemed to exist in case of the death, resignation, removal, or failure to qualify, of any director.

5. If any director shall fail to attend two successive regular meetings of the board of directors in any six-month period without just cause and prior notification, the board of directors shall declare such director’s position vacant and select a replacement director.

6. One-year membership shall be required before a person is eligible for election to the Board. However, the Board may fill vacancies by appointing any active member, even if that person has not been a member for a year.

7. Without limitation thereto, but subject to any limitations in the articles of incorporation and by-laws of this corporation, and the General Corporation Law of the State of California, the directors shall have the power:

a) To select and remove all officers, agents, and employees of the association, prescribes such powers and duties for them as may not be inconsistent with law and fix their compensation, if any.

b) To appoint an executive committee and other committees, and delegate to the executive committee any of the powers and authority of the board in the management and control of the business and affairs of the club, except the power to select or remove members.

c) To conduct, manage, and control the affairs and business of the club and to make rules not inconsistent with the laws of the State of California, or the articles of incorporation, for the guidance of the officers and management of the affairs of the club.

d) To pass upon the qualifications of prospective members of this club, and to elect them to membership.

e) To provide a periodic audit of the books of the club.

f) Except as the bylaws may provide otherwise, any regularly elected officer can be removed from office by a majority vote of the Board of Directors for cause, that is, misconduct or neglect of duty in office. g) To borrow money, expend money, or incur indebtedness for amounts exceeding fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500.00).

h) A simple majority of all members of the Board of Directors shall be necessary to move, transfer or commit the reserve fund held in institutions.

8. The directors of this club shall not be entitled to any compensation for their services as such.

a) Persons, including directors, editing the monthly and annual publications, scripting individual events, or selling advertising for major events shall be entitled to compensation or commissions.

b) The remaining officers of this corporation shall have such powers and duties as shall be conferred upon them from time to time by the Board of Directors.

9. Standing and operating committees will be named by each year’s new Board of Directors and each director must serve on at least one committee. Such panels may include these Standing Committees:

a) A House Facilities Committee, which shall be responsible for all matters relating to the conduct of club members on club premises and facilities for the members’ convenience. The committee shall also be responsible for the acquisition and maintenance of office equipment and supplies as well as the security of club property as might be in storage.

b) A Membership Committee, which shall promote membership in the club and process membership applications, checking eligibility, and present applications to the Board for action. The committee shall assist the secretary in maintaining a current membership roster and a historical roster of past members.

c) A Finance Committee which shall, with the treasurer as chair, submit a proposed balanced budget for the ensuing year at the January meeting of the Board of Directors and study ways and means for keeping the club on a sound financial foundation. Also, the Finance Committee will seek grants, endowments and other donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to further the goals of the club.

d) A Building Committee, which shall be responsible for locating and arranging for suitable quarters for the Club and its activities and thereafter be responsible for the maintenance and improvements in the club’s housing and parking facilities.

e) A Program Committee, which shall plan and oversee club activities in keeping with the Charter and declared purposes of Los Angeles Press Club. Under its aegis, separate committees shall be set up to plan and conduct regular programs, such as an annual Journalism Awards Competition and Dinner, a Headliner Dinner, Roundtable luncheons and others as the need arises.

f) A Nominating Committee, which shall nominate as many candidates (or more) for director as there are vacancies to be filled on the Board of Directors. The committee must name candidates who have agreed to stand for election to the Board and must have a list of candidates available for review by board members before the annual membership meeting.

g) A Personnel Committee which shall recommend to the Board of Directors any necessary hiring or firing of club staff members and make recommendations regarding salaries, working conditions or other matters involving club employees.

h) A Press Conference Committee, which shall establish the fees and promote the availability of the club’s services and facilities for the conduct of press conferences.

IV. INDEMNIFICATION OF OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS

It shall be the policy of the club:

a) To defend and indemnify its present and former directors and officers, and the estates, representatives, heirs, legatees or devisees of each such person, for the reasonable expenses incurred by any of them, including attorney’s fees, in the defense of any proceeding arising out of alleged misfeasance or nonfeasance in the performance of their duties.

b) To pay such sums as may be required to satisfy a judgement or fine rendered or levied against any such person for an act alleged to have been committed while such person was a director or officer of the club, provided that he or she was acting in good faith and according to what he or she reasonably believed to be within the scope of his or her authority, and for a purpose that he or she reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the club or its members.

V. MEMBERSHIP

1. Individual memberships are not transferable and no membership shall be in force until accepted by a majority of the Board of Directors at a regularly scheduled meeting, as recommended by staff.

2. Any member may be expelled by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors, and that person’s membership forfeited for conduct determined by the Board to be detrimental to the welfare or character of the club, or for any violation of the by-laws or rules of the club, or when in default of the payment of any indebtedness to the club.

3. Membership categories shall be:

a) ACTIVE:

Persons who are active editorial employees of newspapers, general circulation magazines, news wire services, online companies, radio and television stations and networks; foreign correspondents, videographers, active full-time free-lance writers, photographers and photo-journalists in all media whose material is published and/or produced regularly, executives concerned with the hiring or supervision of persons in this category and active members who have maintained club membership without interruption, who are no longer eligible for active status.

b) ASSOCIATE:

Any person working in related areas such as PR and journalism teaching.

c) FRIENDS Any one person who wants to support the mission of the press club.

d) HONORARY:

Special persons of distinction who have frequent contact with the news media.

d) CORPORATE:

Any organization may hold a corporate membership at rates to be set by the board of directors. Media corporate memberships will permit each firm to designate a number of active, working members, all of which will be transferable by the firm. The number of active memberships for media firms will depend on their membership rates and may be changed from time to time by the board of directors. Other organizations may hold one or more Associate memberships, with each membership having designated members transferable by the organization to their other employees at any time, and who are to be eligible for Press Club discounts and other club benefits.

e) STUDENT:

Students who are attending an accredited college or university; and are majoring in journalism, public relations, advertising or broadcast media.

f) MEMBER EMERITUS:

An optional category for formerly Active members no longer working as journalists. Members who choose this category will pay one-half the dues established for Active Members but will give up voting rights.

g) HONORARY LIFE MEMBER:

This special designation is to be awarded by the board of directors to those few individuals who, by virtue of long, productive and faithful service, have brought benefit and distinction to the Club.

VI. DUES AND ASSESSMENTS

1. All dues are payable on an annual basis.

2. All members of the club shall be personally liable to the club for their dues and assessments, but no director or member shall be personally liable for the debts, liabilities or obligations of the club.

VII. VOTING

1. Only Active members may vote.

2. All voting shall be by written ballot, mailed to each Active member, with ballot envelope and return envelope.

3. Nominations for directors shall be by a nominating committee appointed by the President and approved by the Board of Directors. Active members may also make additional nominations from the floor at the annual membership meeting.

4. The election of officers shall occur at any organizational meeting of the Board of Directors after the annual election. At this time, the Board of Directors shall suspend its business to allow for the seating of the newly elected directors, who will join those board members whose terms are continuing, constituting the board for the coming year. At that time, the new board shall hold an election for President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Subsequent to the organizational meeting, the new board shall adjourn to allow the incumbent board to reconvene to complete its business.

VIII. MEETINGS

1. The club shall hold its annual meeting during the month of October each year.

2. The agenda for the annual meeting shall include:

a) A report by the president and other officers on the status of the club.

b) A report on nominations to the Board of Directors, and opportunity for additional nominees by Active members.

c) Recommendations from the Active members to go before the Board of Directors.

d) Any other matters of concern.

3. Members of the club may call a general meeting by petition of at least 25 percent of the total of the Active members. The Board of Directors shall have the power at any time to call a general membership meeting of voting members.

4. Thirty-five percent of the Active membership shall constitute a quorum for any general meeting.

5. If the president believes board action is desirable on a question that may come up between regular board meetings, the president may communicate with the directors. If it is determined that a majority of the board members are in agreement on such a question, the action of this majority of the board shall have the same authority and effect as though an agreement shall have been reached in a regularly scheduled directors’ meeting. A report of this decision shall be made at the next regulary scheduled meeting, and the action of this majority of the board shall have the same authority and effect as though such an agreement had been reached in a regularly scheduled directors’ meeting.

6. Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called at any time by the president or at the request of five directors.

7. Meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held at such place or places in the County of Los Angeles, or elsewhere, as shall be determined by the Board of Directors. The meeting agenda shall preferably be sent to each director’s address according to the records of the club at least seven days prior to the board meeting.

a) Notice of special meetings shall be given either personally, in writing or by electronic means to each director at least three days prior to the date set for such meeting.

b) A quorum of the board of directors may adjourn any directors’ meeting to meet again on a stated day and hour. In the absence of a quorum at any board meeting, a majority of the directors at that meeting shall fix a new time and date for that meeting. Notice of the new time and date of the meeting shall be given to all directors of the board.

IX. OFFICERS

1. The board of directors shall elect a President, Vice President, Secretary, Executive Director and Treasurer. The board may appoint such other officers, assistant officers and agents as they deem best. The President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer shall be the Executive Committee. The treasurer need not be a board member.

2. The Secretary shall oversee records containing the name and address of each member and in any case where a membership has been terminated, such fact recorded together with the date on which the membership ceased. Membership records shall be kept in the principal office of the club with by-laws and amendments thereto, with annual reports and statements to the members at the annual membership meeting.

3. At least once a year, or more often as the directors shall determine, the treasurer shall make available to the Board a written statement showing in detail the assets and liabilities of the club and the profit and loss statement.

4. All checks drawn in the name of the club shall be signed by the executive director or a board member designated by the board of directors.

X. BYLAW AMENDMENTS

1. Proposed adoption, amendment or repeal of these by-laws shall require two-thirds affirmative vote of a quorum of the Board of Directors and a plurality vote of those active members voting by mail ballot.

2. Universally accepted parliamentary authority for the conduct of meetings is Robert’s Rules of Order, in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the by-laws or corporate charter or any special Rules of Order the Club may adopt.

XI. NONDISCRIMINATION

This organization, through its directors, officers and members, does not discriminate in its membership or employment practices because of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, medical condition, marital status, sex or sexual orientation.

Proclamations

Proclamation from Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors honoring Los Angeles Press Club.

Whereas the Los Angeles Press Club was established in 1913 as a gathering spot and watering hole for journalists in the halcyon days when a half-dozen daily newspapers loudly clamored for scoops, circulation and advertising in the burgeoning metropolis of Los Angeles; and

Whereas after its fading away during the depression and world war II, news reporters from the city’s surviving four daily newspapers revived the organization in 1946 as the greater Los Angeles Press Club, having lost the original name to a nightclub in the interim; and

Whereas highlights of the Press Club’s colorful history include inducting actress Marilyn Monroe as the first “Miss Press Club”, and hosting president Harry S. Truman as a luncheon speaker as he was preparing to run for re-election; and

Whereas after settling into permanent quarters at 6th and Vermont from the 1960s to the 1980s, the Press Club once more fell victim to changing times and shrinking membership, buy yet again, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, under new leadership and surge in dynamic younger membership in the 1990s, the Press Club has in recent years enjoyed a revival and today looks forward with confidence to an active leadership role in the evolving Los Angeles media and journalism scene:

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the board of supervisors of the county of Los Angeles that the Los Angeles Press Club is hereby highly commended for a century of service to the people of Los Angeles and the community of journalists who live by H.L. Mencken’s admonition to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable, and the club and its members are extended sincere congratulations on reaching this extraordinary centennial milestone, with best wishes for continued success in all future endeavors for many years to come.

Adopted by order of the board of supervisors of the county of Los Angeles, state of California. It is supervisor Zev Yaroslavski to the right in the picture together with Executive Director Diana Ljungaeus, Patt Morrison and Gloria Zuurveen.

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"Los Angeles Press Club" is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 4773 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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